I spent four hours yesterday at The University of Michigan Center for Vocal Health. For the last 5 years or so I have been having trouble with hoarseness and loss of range due to overuse in the classroom setting. I finally waved the white flag and just decided to have it checked out.
I met with the surgeon first, then the Voice Specialist and finally the Speech Pathologist, all specializing in teaching and singing. When I entered the room with the Voice Specialist, an instructor of voice at The University of Michigan School of Music, she asked me about my typical daily schedule. I explained that I had all 530+ students in our school for 80 minutes a week, plus 76 fifth graders for 80 minutes a week for band. She thought it was amazing that we had that kind of a program!
I then told her of our Elementary Honors Choir, which had 120 students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. We have 8 music educators who work with this group every week for 8 weeks leading up to our Vocal Arts Concert. She asked me if this was a public school and, when I told her yes, she said she was elated that a program of this caliber still existed in the state. She told me that it made her heart happy to know that our students were receiving the music education that we know is so important to their personal growth and development.
We sometimes forget how good we actually have it. In a world of budget cuts, increasing state expectations for math, science, language arts and foreign languages, and music programs being pulled from schools, we have a true “diamond in the rough” in our district with wonderful educators and supportive staff and administrators. I need to remember to sit back and appreciate that every once in a while, and revel in the program that we love so much!